Our Town

People and places that define Orlando

Game On!

Orlando’s new lacrosse team, the fightin’ Titans, takes no prisoners. By Dave Seanor

Hide the kids and sound the alarm! The Titans are in town!

Professional indoor lacrosse made its Orlando debut Jan. 8, treating 7,500 spectators at Amway Arena to the National Lacrosse League’s brand of mobility, agility and hostility. If fans were mystified by the proceedings, they had good reason. Not only is lacrosse alien to the Sun Belt, but both the hometown Titans and the visiting Philadelphia Wings wore white jerseys, making the opposing players virtually indistinguishable from one another.

“The home team was supposed to wear dark. The equipment manager made a mistake,” a chagrined NLL Commissioner George Daniel acknowledged at halftime. “It’s hopefully one of those stories we’ll laugh about years later. I think the fans will give us a mulligan.”

Judging by the raucous fourth period of the Titans’ 13-8 victory, they did. The identity issue was clarified by three donnybrooks in the last quarter, with two players squaring off and exchanging punches for several minutes each time as referees idled nearby until the combatants wore themselves out. After one fight, the Wings player was doused with beer in the penalty box.

If that sounds like hockey, it should. Indoor lacrosse, also known as “box lacrosse,” was a 1930s brainchild of Canadian hockey arena owners looking to monetize their facilities in the summer. The scaled-down version of traditional field lacrosse features fewer players on each side (six compared to 10); a shot clock; more scoring (average 25 goals per NLL game); and more fisticuffs (discouraged in field lacrosse).

John Jiloty, editor in chief for Inside Lacrosse magazine, was blogging from the arena on opening night. He said the NLL, like its cousin the NHL, condones fighting. Hence Jiloty was amused by some spectators’ reactions to the violence.

“They were horrified, apparently,” he blogged. “Some even rushed their kids to the concourse.”

The former New York Titans were lured to Orlando by the growing popularity of youth lacrosse in Florida, as well as by the dearth of competition here for the sports fan’s dollar. But Orlando historically has been a burial ground for second-tier pro sports teams. Come and gone are the Arena Football League’s Predators, the International Hockey League’s Solar Bears, the U.S. Football League’s Renegades and minor league baseball’s Twins/Sun Rays/Cubs/Rays.

“We’re different, with all due respect to the other leagues, in that we’re offering the best players in the world in this sport,” says Daniel. “They’re not playing here to go on to the NFL or the NHL. They’re playing here because this is the top rung of the ladder.”

Indeed, former college stars compete in the NLL as a labor of love. The average player salary is $16,000.

That’s per season, not per game. Or per punch.


Art, Unclothed


At Nude Nite, the works on view celebrate the body beautiful. By Jay Boyar

Its provocative name notwithstanding, Nude Nite is not a clothing-optional event.

Not for the customers, anyway.

It’s an art show, basically, albeit one in which the works on view all feature variations on the unclothed human form.

Not that this sort of art is so very unusual. Nudes—as every first-year art student knows—have always played a prominent role in the visual arts.

Nude Nite, however, dates back only to the mid-1990s, when a local gallery owner named Victor Perez decided to focus on what might be called the aesthetics of the unclad.

“This was…conceived out of a frustration for a lack of attendance at art shows,” says Kelly Stevens, Nude Nite’s current director. “Nudity brings out emotions in people. Some people are offended. Some people love it.”

Nude Nite (nudeniteorlando.com) is actually three nights, Feb. 11-13, 6 p.m. to midnight. Admission is $20 and limited to people 21 and up. The event will be held, as it was last year, at a warehouse at 503 Brookhaven Drive in the Lake Ivanhoe Row Antique District. It’s a big space, but then it has to be: The event attracts more than 3,000 people, notes Stevens, whose day job is in real estate.

Among the approximately 200 works featured this year will be the usual suspects: paintings, photographs and sculptures. But the definition of Nude Nite is expansive enough to incorporate elements of theater, dance, music, body painting and burlesque. There will also be interactive installations including one with a Wizard of Oz theme—and nudity, of course.

“You’re going to have the yellow-brick road, and you’re going to have performances within that,” Stevens explains. “Then you’ll also have lots of little interesting surprises along the way.”

Lions and tigers and bares —oh, my!

This is a juried show, incidentally, with aspirations to artistic integrity.

Jeffrey Hartog, a plastic surgeon from Oviedo whose underwater photographs of dancers have been displayed at Nude Nite, says that the event’s atmosphere can be surprisingly serious.

“Obviously, just the word ‘nude’ draws attention in a place like Orlando, which is maybe just a little conservative,” he says. “But it’s by no means a big orgy. People are very well behaved.”

Still, one of Stevens’ favorite things about Nude Nite is that visitors tend to let down their guards, often striking up conversations with strangers. There’s just something about the event that lends itself to, well, self-exposure.

“This is the best reality show there is,” Stevens muses. “If you walk up and down the 200 works of Nude Nite, you see people’s secrets.”


Please Say It’s Not Dude, Where’s My Car?

As part of its 25th anniversary celebration, Enzian Theater wants to know what your favorite film is. By Jay Boyar

What’s your favorite movie?

Citizen Kane? Lawrence of Arabia? The Twilight Saga: New Moon?

Whatever it is, Enzian Theater wants to know as part of its 25th anniversary celebration.

Yes, as of Feb. 15, Enzian will have been in business for a quarter of a century. And one way the independent Maitland moviehouse is celebrating that milestone is by asking you, the local filmgoer, to vote for your favorite motion picture.

The goal is to come up with a list that the theater is calling “The Top 10 Movies You Should See on the Big Screen Before You Die.” You can vote through the theater’s Web site (enzian.org), or you can cast a paper ballot at the theater.

As the suggestions roll in, the theater’s staff will tally them to help form that list. The films on the list will be shown at the theater throughout the coming year, with the first one to be presented next month.

“Part of the mission here is to get the public—our viewers, your readers—to start interacting with us,” says Henry Maldonado, who became president of Enzian last September after serving as general manager of WKMG-TV-Channel 6. And to sort of get the ball rolling, the theater will be showing Casablanca, which doesn’t officially count as one of the top 10, on Feb 14.

Since the voting is open to the entire community (and beyond), you might wonder if the list will end up saying something about Orlando—possibly something you don’t want to know. What if, for example, the films turn out to be Dude, Where’s My Car?; Showgirls; and a bunch of those Friday the 13th movies?

Not to worry. “It is a concern,” admits Maldonado. “And one of the things that I want to keep in my back pocket is that the programming people at the theater are going to make sure that we have a good mix.”

In other words, while the selection process will have a democratic component, it may not be strictly democratic. (The availability of good prints of the films will also be a factor.)

Meanwhile, Maldonado says that his own vote would go to Casablanca—which, of course, is already on the schedule.


Mad About Movies

Orlando cinemaphile Joey Wright, 27, is watching—and reviewing on his blog—each of the Internet Movie Database’s Top 250 films.

The goal: To have watched all of the movies—nearly 500 hours—in the 365 days ending this Dec. 31. Why he’s doing it: To discover new favorites and give classic standards a fresh look, sharing his reactions and reviews not as a critic but as a film lover. Plus: “I think this is a great project for me in this time of my life. I don’t think that I have found my purpose in life yet.” The sources: His Netflix account and personal collection. IMDB voters’ choice for best film: The Shawshank Redemption. Wright’s personal favorite: Almost Famous. Worst film ever: Wright says Random Hearts, a goopy Harrison Ford vehicle. List quirk: IMDB’s list changes daily as users vote. Wright is using the Top 250 as of Nov. 29, 2009. A bit of housecleaning: When his apartment is cluttered, Wright says, his mind is cluttered. So he’ll tidy up before watching each movie. Movie-watching snacks: Pibb Xtra and Red Vines licorice. Working all this in around…: His job as a music department manager at Barnes & Noble, Altamonte Springs. Web site: Follow Wright’s progress and read his reviews at the-250.blogspot.com 
—Tyler King

Categories: Community